Intimate Altruism


Denise Johnson opens her heart as her lingerie store closes. 

Denise Johnson
Denise Johnson on the last day
of business in her store, The
Lingerie Collection 

Not a dime changed hands on the last day of business at Denise Johnson’s lingerie store. But then her “Closeout With a Cause” wasn’t about hearing the cha-ching of the cash register. It was about allowing women served by five Central Florida nonprofits to indulge themselves and forget their troubles, if only for a day.

The fine intimates Johnson had sold for a decade at The Lingerie Collection in Winter Park had each typically fetched $40 to $100—and up. But on the shop’s final day in late June, 32 women from Compassionate Hands & Hearts Breast Cancer Outreach, Dress for Success Greater Orlando, the Ronald McDonald House, Options! and The BETA Center helped themselves for free.

“These are women who need a little TLC, a little distraction,” said Johnson of the closeout clientele, who ranged from breast cancer survivors to women looking for employment.

For the last two years, Johnson, 46, had struggled with the idea of closing her Morse Boulevard store to concentrate on her online boutique. In the end, the faltering economy helped her decide.

She chose to give away $16,000 worth of chic bras, panties, camisoles and PJs as a way to say thank you to the community that helped launch her career as an entrepreneur. 

“When I close my store,” she said, “I want to close the door with a smile on my face and a happy heart.”

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